TWRA hoping to eliminate red deer in Claiborne County

TWRA hoping to eliminate red deer in Claiborne County


6 News Reporter

TAZEWELL (WATE) - Saturday was the last day to hunt for white-tailed deer in our area, but starting next week red deer will be the target in Claiborne County.

It's the first time TWRA has launched a red deer hunting season after a herd escaped a private property in Claiborne County.

A big portion of the hunting zone is east of Highway 25E in Tazewell down Highway 33 to the Union County line.

Tazewell resident James Hurst did not have to look far to spot red deer.  

"There were 30 to 40 I could see all the time," said Hurst.

That's because Hurst says red deer were being raised by his next-door neighbor who wasn't home on Sunday when 6 News visited. 

"A big tree fell on the fence and they got out," said Hurst.

TWRA says the man had every right to own red deer on his private property, but now with dozens of them on the loose, the agency is hoping to eliminate them.

A 2-week red deer hunting season will begin from January 14 to the 22nd. Recently the hunting zone was expanded in the county because the herd is moving around.

"They could very well be carrying diseases to other animals," said Hurst.

TWRA says there is no confirmation the exotic creatures are carrying a specific disease, but there is always a possibility because their exact origin is unknown.

Keep in mind if you want to hunt, you need to first have written permission from property owners because the red deer population is roaming private lands.

"With cattle I don't feel free to let anybody come in," said property owner Hettie McDaniel.

 McDaniel says count her land out. She is worried hunters will shoot the wrong target.

TWRA is also warning hunters to not confuse the red deer with an elk.

An elk is significantly bigger and different in color from the red deer.

"It's very distinguishable between the two for sure," said Hurst.

Any hunter who kills a red deer this season has to bring their kill to 2089 Highway 25E where Southern Outdoors Sporting Goods used to be.

TWRA wishes to obtain biological samples to study the red deer and check for diseases.

For more information on the exact area of the expanded hunting zone and other requirements contact TWRA at (423) 587-7037.

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